Friday, 31 July 2009

"Never Gonna Dance".... :(

Tomorrow marks the very end of my dance career as it were. My final performance with my current dance group, a quartet at the All-England finals in London. Again sorry to deviate from Ginger, but this competotions the reason for my prolonged absence and the imminent end has brought about bittersweet emotions. Maybe in later life I'll end up on stage again.... nothings final.

Anyway, back to Ginger. Well ish! I don't really get sage fright, but I find channelling Gnger helps. Somehow thinking about that performance quality she exudes at all times makes my dancing better. I won a silver medal today!

Now to make up for a non- Gingery post I've added in a few Ginger pictures I've recently come across !

I really do hope I can age as well as GInger... i found this which was apparently taken in the '80s!

Beth xx

Monday, 27 July 2009

Poll Results - and a notice of temporary absence!

Just thought I'd let you all know that I'm very busy this week and next week with the finals of the All England Dance competition. I managed to qualify several dances so am up in London rehearsing/erforming most of the week so any posts will be few and far between!

But on to more interesting topics! The results for "Your Favourite Fred and Ginger Romantic Duet"


With a huge lead in first place (50% of the vote) we have the ever wonderful "Never Gonna Dance" from Swing Time (1936). Whether it's the emotion, the dress, those turns up the stairs or the song.... theres just someting about it that's special!
Tied in second place, Cole Porter's sublime "Night and Day" from The Gay Divorcee (1934), the wonderful melody combined with our first entirely Fred and Ginger extravaganza, the sea, the sensuality....

Also in second place, the infamous "Cheek to Cheek" from Top Hat (1935), which I will always think of as the feathers number! Somehow, knowing about the argument actually makes it more fun to watch rather thah detracting from the mood, Ginger really was sparky! <>

Apart from this, it's a swell song (if anyone would like to hear a charming rendition of Ginger singing it from a rare recording, it is the backing on this video on YT, and the dance is as per usual, top class :)

In third place, again tied, are "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" from Roberta (1935) and "They Can't Take That Away From Me" from The Barkleys of Broadway (1949).

The second could almost (as a reader noted on an earlier post) be considered their signature tune, appearing in two films, written by Gershwin with the pair of them in mind (the line "The way you sing off key" was apparently a private joke with Ginger who occasionally wavered from the tune!) and a perfectly costumed and staged number spelling out the end of an era. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes is in many senses the reverse, they were barely beginning as a partnership having done only one film as the first billing, and I think this particular number sets the tone for what is to come, thir elegance, the electricity between them... perfection in a dance number!

And finally, In joint 4th position, "Let's Face the Music and Dance", Follow the Fleet (1936), "Change Partners" Carefree (1938) and The Final Waltz" of The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939). I dont have time to write on these just now, but will hopefully expand any rate, they're all beautiful, and there's no such thing as bad Fred and Ginger!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Ginger and Wedding Dresses

I was watching "It Had to be You" today... and man, do I dislike that movie. I just feel like Ginger's part doesnt't suit her, so you dont get her personality at all. Also the plot is absolutely ridiculous, if the indian's a figment of her imagination, how come other people can interact with him!?

Anyway, the multiple weddings in this film got me thinking on how many times Ginger wears a wedding dress in movies. So I'm preparing a Ginger Wedding Dress picture extravaganza special type thing, which'll be up later in the week.

As a part of this, I tried to locate one of Ginger's actual wedding dresses, as I figured even if a few of the 5 were small ceremonies, as a major face of hollywood, there ought to be pictures somewhere! And I came across this picture, which is (as far as I can tell) and actual wedding portrait. I'm trying to find out which one (I'd guess at Lew Ayres by the hair and age and the fact that they had a proper wedding) but I'll try and verify it, but she looks so very gorgeous that I wanted to post it now! Her flowers were lavender orchids and lily-of-the-valley, the dress was ivory satin and the veil tulle. I think its absolutely gorgeous!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

A new poll!

Well I decided to go ahead with aweekly poll, I enjoyed reading everyones responses to the last one so much! Its another Fred and Ginger question, so next weeks will have to be Ginger only!

This time, the question is based upon a question suggested by jwalker, "Which is your favourite Fred and GInger Dance", well there are so so many to choose from and they're all so different that I figured it wouldnt really be faior of me to choose my favourites and restrict yours, so instead I chose romantic duets. Most of the Fred and Ginger films have them, but only one, which made the number manageable.

Again there's nothing from Flying Down to Rio as, much as I love the Carioca, it can't be considered romantic. Then every other film has its dance included except Shall We Dance. I didnt include this as the original, "They Can't Take That Away from Me" is just Freds song, and I could include the song in the poll by adding in The Barkelys of Broadway's reprise! Just as a note... by Waltz Medley from Castles, I mean the number where he arrives in uniform in Paris, and sh's all worried and he just sweeps her off her feet!

I'd love to hear from you all, Ive enabled multiple answers for those of us that cant choose an absolute favourite and want to chuck in a few! Leave a comment with what you chose and why if you've time!

I chose "Night and Day", as I love the dress, adore the song (such a beautiful melody) and I think the dance is very sensuous and therefore different to later stuff. Also chose Never gonna dance - again for the dress (which I noticesd is very similar to Night and Days when the cape is off!), the setting ( I just love the white dress on the black floor), those spins at the end and again the song. Change Partners I chose primarily for the song, which for some reason I love, and the trance like quality which I enjoy, despite not being a huge fan of the hypnotic type dance moves of the beginning. The dress is also gorgeous!

Beth xx

Friday, 17 July 2009

An update!!

I have located some of the elusive 14!! This is a very exciting moment for me and I wished to share it with you :P

Thanks to Lauren (The Ginger List/Grayscale) I now know the whereabouts of Night in a Dormitory!

I myself have located through nefarious means DVDr copies of Follow the Leader (1930), and Sitting Pretty (1933)!!

Still questing for Hat Check Girl, I'm really hopin its a good movie, or at least rich in Ginger! Imagine if after all the frustration and heartache, it turned out to be a dud!
I was working in my rose garden today, and remembered reading in Ginger :My Story, about Ginger having a rose named after her, thought I'd locate a picture! Pretty isnt it, pink of course :P !!
Beth xx

Considering a weekly poll...?

I very much enjoyed reading everyones feedback on the Fred and Ginger poll, it was grewat to hear from you all and I felt like I was getting to know you a bit!

Anyways, so I thought I might make it more regular, so that I can continue the process, hoping it'd lead to a broader appreciation of all things Ginger, as well as the opportunity for us all to learn more about eachothers Ginger tastes, likes, pet peeves and favourites!

Anyways, so I'll probably post a poll tomorrow, and would love to know what you all think of the idea...

If it goes ahead, when I post the results for a poll, I'd love for those who are reading to suggest their own ideas for the next one, so its not just me inputting and we get a wider range of questions!

Hope you're all well, and thanks for reading!
Keep it Gingery!

Beth xx

Thursday, 16 July 2009

I had intended...

to mark this Ginger's birthday with a video montage of movie clips I love, but when attempting to upload to youtube, the song ("She" by Elvis Costello) turned out to be blocked. I couldnt ruin the video by speedily choosing a lesser song.

However, I have uploaded a slideshow of pictures, new ones I havent seen around before (or at least not frequently!) to commemorate the occasion. I set them to the gorgeous "Sonnet 18" sung by David Gilmour, words of course, by Shakespeare! Have a look if you have time!

I'm off now to watch Kitty Foyle, my final GInger film of the day! I watched my current top 5, Swing Time, The Major and the Minor, Lady in the Dark, Carefree and Vivacious Lady (which is tied in 5th with Kitty!) I also wore pink, drank ice cream soda, did multiple celebratory dances, and listened to as much Ginger music as possible! My family think I'm mad to celebrate a dead 98 year old actress' birthday, but as I told them, she has had a great impact on my life, on the genre of musicals, on areas of the music industry and deserves to be remembered for the positive influence she has, and indeed still has!

As Shakespeare (and David Gimour) so aptly put it

"Thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee."

The beginning of Ginger's birthday

It's 1am here in the UK and I'm off to bed, but couldn't go without first sayin... HAPPY 98th BIRTHDAY to the gorgeous Miss Virginia Katherine McMath!

There will be much much more at a more civilized hour!!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

The results are in... and it's an excuse for some pictures!!

So the poll finished today.... thanks to everyone who voted!

In first place we have my personal favourite, SWING TIME (1936)
I'm glad this one came up top! For me it's the perfect balance of dialogue music and dance, and the movie in which Ginger gets to do at least as much as Fred! Most importantly, it was Ginger's

In a very close second we have a tie between, TOP HAT (1935) aaaaannnd CAREFREE(1938).

While I'm not actually a huge Top Hat fan, it is a swell movie, and it deserves this spot. I do always wonder why it seems to be considered the best Fred and Ginger by critics? Any suggestions?
I was thrilled to see Carefree in the top few, proof it seems that the film is underrated, but also perhaps that it's Ginger fans who love it the most. EIther way, the underdog triumphed :D

A few votes back in third position we have a tie between SHALL WE DANCE (1937) and FOLLOW THE FLEET (1936)

Lovely lovely Gershwin songs in the first, and awww, dont Ginger look cute in that sailor suit :)

In 4th Place we have ROBERTA (1935) and THE GAY DIVORCEE (1934)

Some lovely costumes *swoon* lovely songs, (Night and Day is possibly my favourite song of their movies together) and a very suspicious Polish accent!!

And staggering in in last place, with no votes at all, THE STORY OF VERNON AND IRENE CASTLE (1939)
I'd love to know why noone else likes this film (well less than the others anyways!). I actually quite enjoy it except for the trauma of the end, Ginger is wonderful in it. For me, It can't be a favourite of the Fred and Gingers because there aren't enough songs, and because if I want to watch a sob story type Ginger movie, I stick to Tender Comrade and Kitty Foyle.... but what do all you lot think??


Saturday, 11 July 2009

The elusive 14... also LAST CHANCE TO VOTE!!

Since the start of this blog in early June... I've begged, borrowed, bought and (I suppose technically) stolen my way to having 62 Ginger movies either on DVD, on VHS or on my hard drive. Despite crawling through numerous online auctions and sites of questionable reputation, there are 14 movies (including 3 shorts) which I simply cannot find. Very annoying!!

What makes it worse is that in many cases of the 14, I've found fragments on youtube, convincing me even more thoroughly that I do want them, and that they must exist somewhere! Hence this post is a roundup of those 14 failures of my search (so far :P), and a plea to anyone whose great aunt may have an ancient VHS in a box in her attic! Also, not having access to TCM, it's possible I'm just suffering from living in the UK! Most of these missing films are either very early, or late in her career.

So here we go (chronologically!!)

1. A Day of a Man of Affairs (1929)[short]- Ginger's first official film! She would have been 18,the same age as me!!

2. Campus Sweethearts (1930)[short] Second movie, I'd imagine these will be the hardest to find!

3. A Night in A Dormitory (1930) [short] - Ginger playing.... Ginger!! There are clips of this on YT but I dont know if it's the whole thing! Its so cute, and shows Ginger when she was playing the Betty Boop style flapper that she began as, before she developed in to the Ginger we know and love

4. The Sap from Syracuse (1930) - Also known as the Sap from Abroad. - I know this one exists as again there are clips on youtube, and someone has the whole film but wants a trade that I cant provide :(

5. Queen High (1930) - Ditto the above sob story! But even worse as there are large chunks of this on youtube to torture me!! For your enjoyment though!!

6. Follow the Leader (1930) - Yet again, the first 9 minutes to torture me....
Having said this, I just realised I havent actually messaged the uploader to ask about the rest of it :P

7. Hat Check Girl (1932) - Here begins the small number of random early/mid career films which just aren't to be found anywhere!

8. Sitting Pretty (1933) - Has apparently Ginger in a gorgeous sequinned get up, and the lovely song, "Did You Ever See a Dream Walking"

and now we skip all the way through the wonders of Kitty Foyle and the Fred and Ginger lot to....

9. Perfect Strangers (1950) - I have literally found no part of this film anywhere outside the IMDB, maybe because there are better know films with the same title... but who knows!

10. Forever Female (1953) - Drawn a complete blank here - all I can remember is I can't find it!!

11. The First Travelling Saleslady (1956)- Is reportedly a hoot! The trailer is on YT and you can see Carol Channing making her screen debut! This was also Ginger's last movie at RKO and I believe, the last picture made at RKO prior to it changing hands/name etc. I know from the trailer that it's been on TCM so anyone who has a copy...I will do most anything to lay hands on it!!

12. Oh Men! Oh Women! (1957) - The closest I've come to a video of this is a passing reference on What's My Line where GInger is mystery guest! This also applies to...

13. The Confession (1964) - Where Ginger herself speaks briefly of her ill-fated foray in to production with husband number 5. Incidentally this is the only film made by their company, and Ginger stars as Madame Rinaldi...brothel owner!!

14. Harlow (1965) - By all accounts, this is a fairly poor film, but it's Ginger's final one, and I need it, if only for the sake of completion, you'd think being more recent, it'd be easier to find!

Apologies to anyone who'd waded through this entire post! I wasnt anticipating the length it'd become, but somehow a list of titles seemed a little dry.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Primrose Path (1940) Week 3 - (delayed by another 3 :S)

Primrose Path

A bit of trivia! This is the first film in which Ginger has dark hair, after her long bout as a blonde from The Tip Off (1931) onwards! There is in fact a lovely anecdote in her autobiography about her decision to dye her hair brunette in order to look younger, and her struggle keeping it secret from the press pre-realease, which involved turban wearing!! Ginger begins here her run of playing significantly younger characters, with Ellie May Adams.

It's an interesting film, as it tackles a lot of moral issues, but has to tread lightly to avoid breaking the Hays Code. It was banned in several states after upsetting local censors, and had it not, many critics suggested that Ginger might have been nominated for an Academy Award, though ultimately it didn't matter! Ginger is the daughter of a hooker and a drunk. Her grandma was also a prostitute, and her refusal to join the family trade is pivotal to the plot. Dressing childishly and doing her best to support her family without selling herself, she meets a Ed Wallace (Joel McCrea) who comes from a more respecatable family, who own a small diner. She falls for him, but lies about her family, a decision which comes back to haunt her and breaks up their marriage.

The grandma and younger sister are both well acted, and really horrible characters, both conniving and unpleasent, their scheming was a slight distraction from the film as I genuinely wanted to punch them both for large sections of the film.

Other than this, I really I enjoyed the movie. It was in many ways, Ginger's first opportunity to do any dramatic acting, and she really shines. Also, its one of those "struggle to survive" type movies which leaves you feeling fulfilled and sort of wholesome (this sounds kind of wierd but I hope at least one person understands what I'm trying to say :P!). The relationship between Ellie May and Ed is very cute, I especially love the scene where he's painting the boat - you'll know the one I mean if you've seen it!

Ginger says; "Joel McCrae was my handsome leading man and I always loved working with him. The supporting cast was equally wonderful...Primrose Path provided me with my first substantial dramatic role... (I) went happily in to the role of Ellie May Adams, which gave me an age range to play as well as an opportunity at character development."

Rating (Ginger scale)
Plot - 18/20 (fairly solid, based on novel "February Hill"
Importance of Ginger - 18/20
Characters - 16/20 all convincing if exaggerated and in some cases annoying!
The Ginger Factor - 18/20
"X" Factors - 17/20

X factors include - Strong plot line, Some really good acting, convincing romance, weepy moments (for me at any rate!), good scripting, I enjoyed the amusing banter between the cafe staff and customers! NOthing outstanding but consistenly high standard!

Overall - 87
Grade - A
Position in my collection 15/60
Note! I got to the stage where I'd seen enough of Ginger's films to order them by score so have added this in as a little (probably useless extra! 60 is how many I've seen!)

Monday, 6 July 2009


I'm rather proud of myself as I did very well in my final exams, much better than predicted :)

I get my university place and probably a scholarship as well as I surpassed my offer sunstantially! SOrry to deviate from the Ginger theme... but I wanted to share XD

Beth xx

Sunday, 5 July 2009

A Fred and Ginger Poll....

While on holiday I had an intersting debate with and old lady on the beach. I was walking along humming "Change Partners" and she stopped me and asked me why I was singing that song. My reply was that I loved Ginger, I loved musicals, I especially loved Carefree, and that it is a wonderful song. It emerged she was a Fred Astaire fan, but hated that particular film.

Anyway, the point of this anecdote was to explain the poll. Carefree is critically one of their less acclaimed movies. It didnt do well at the box office etc. I love it, but I wondered if I love it because Ginger gets to be the lead for once? I think its more than that, but I wanted to see what other Ginger fans thought of this film within the context of other Fred/Ginger films.

I allowed the option of multiple answers on the grounds that Swing Time is my favourite because it has more musical content than Carefree, which is my second favourite. So if you vote, you can vote for your top 2 or 3.

I apologize if anyone likes Flying DOwn to Rio best, I didnt include it because they have such a small part, even if it is show stealing and I didnt want the poll to be too epic in length. Roberta was included because even as second leads they play a significant part and have some brilliant dance numbers. The Barkelys I excluded as its such a dfferent film and a different era.

I'd love to hear your points of view!!

Beth xx

Has returned, sunburnt.... :(

I spent the last week and a bit staying in a flat with 13 friends...all of whom dislike classic cinema. To quote, "If it's black and white, it's s**t!".

I took a few Ginger DVDs with me in the hope that I'd get a chance to watch them in the early mornings while the others slept off their hangovers, but it was not to be :( Therefore I spent 10 days without Ginger :o - This is not something I will repeat. I managed to sneak about a half hour of the Major and The Minor while people were shopping but the moment people returned they started making rude comments, so I switched it off befoe I was forced to kill someone.

This led me to wonder, why is it most people automatically assume recent films are "better". I was forced to watch "Knocked up" *grimace*, endless episodes of Desperate Housewives *melodrama* and "The Epic Movie" which made me want to remove my own eyeballs with a blunt stick.

Tomorrow I find out whether or not I got the grades to go to University. After this potential trauma, I'll try and get back on track with this blog, I have a few reviews, and random trivia to post!

Beth xx

As a note - I currently have 10 invites to a private torrent tracker specialising in classic movies. This has about 60 of Gingers films to download. Leave a comment if you are interested!!